Northtowns residents looking for a solid selection of hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, soups and all-day breakfast options need look no further than Jonny C’s Deli and Catering, on Transit Road in East Amherst. The extensive menu features more than 50 hot sandwiches, a spate of New York-style deli choices and enough sides, grilled fare and salads to satisfy even the most robust appetite for under $10.
We stopped by on a recent weekday to find a bustling counter at lunch hour, but still received our food at a workday pace. Most of the menu falls below the $10 mark, even for a whole sandwich, and we found half portions more than plenty for the average eater. Many of the hot choices from “Jonny C’s Favorite Sandwiches” come piled high with an assortment of meats and toppings and offer the best bang for your buck. A number are named after area streets, landmarks and famous faces, so if kitschy monikers are your style, this is the spot. The Transit ($6 for a half sandwich) is one of these, with thin-sliced corned beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, lettuce and tomato on sliced rye bread. That half is stacked with at least half a pound of meat and the pastrami and corned beef marry well for an authentic dose of traditional New “Yawk” flavor.
The Spicy Dragon ($5.49 for half, $10 for a whole) is a big-appetite take on a Philly cheese-steak with chopped steak, melted pepper jack, seasoned french fries (yes, right on the sandwich), sweet chili coleslaw, Sriracha mayo, tomato and oil on a toasted sub roll. This bad boy has that subtle funky kick from the red rooster mayo, balanced nicely by umami french fries and tender steak. This one is a giant belly buster, and half of that half did just fine even without a side.
For fowl fans, The Coyote ($5.49 half, $10 whole) is a breaded chicken cutlet, slices of crisp bacon, melted cheddar cheese, Mesquite BBQ chips, barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion on a toasted roll. While chicken breast can be dry, this bird was juicy and lightly breaded to let the rest of the ingredients really shine. The barbecue sauce is on the sweet side, and those chips add a welcome crunch to tie it all together. Like the dragon, we took half of a half home for lunch a day later, and it reheated well, to boot.
For vegetarians, Jonny C’s offers a host of salads, soups and sides, and a number of veggie-friendly sandwiches that do not skimp on taste. Those include the Downtown Veggie ($5 for a half, $9 whole) with provolone, cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, red onions, lettuce, tomato, roasted red peppers, cucumber and basil mayo on a toasted sub. There also is the regular Vegetarian ($4.50 half, $9 whole) with roasted veggies, melted provolone, lettuce, tomato and pesto mayo. That said, by far the star of the meatless menu is the Portobello sandwich ($7.49) which features the largest mushroom we have ever seen. This Frisbee-sized fungus comes with roasted red peppers, a hearty helping of blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, onion and pesto mayo on a toasted roll. This one was as satisfying as any carnivorous option, with savory umami flavor we would order again in a heartbeat.
Jonny C’s is a no-frills establishment, but what it lacks in decor, it makes up in spades on the plate.
Give yourself time to get through that doozy of a menu, but don’t fear a misstep; there are no bad options on it.
Where: 9350 Transit Road, East Amherst (688-8400, jonnycs.com)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.